Why Abortion is Immoral by Don Marquis Essay Example
The debate on whether or not abortion is right has been argued for a very long time, and Don Marquis presents his logic in “Why Abortion is Immoral.” He brings up many points made by both anti-abortionists and pro-choicers and then puts it all together to create his own view. He brings up points that seem inarguable for both sides and then analizes them intelligently. When does a person gain the right to life? Why is killing a person wrong, and when does a person become a person in the first place? Is every case of abortion immoral? Marquis believes that most cases of abortion are seriously immoral mainly due to the fact that the loss of someone’s future is the worst loss a person could suffer from, but there are some cases where abortion is justifiable.
Marquis explains both the pro-life argument and the pro-choice argument in his chapter. He describes how many people believe that any form of abortion is immoral. The anti-abortionists say that all killing is wrong, and that babies are considered people at the moment of conception. Therefore, aborting a fetus at any stage would be wrong. They believe that if it has a genetic code then that is enough to be considered a human being, and if it’s a human being, then killing it would be full on murder. Pro-choicers say that a fetus does not equal a person or social being meaning that aborting the fetus would not be murder and would be a perfectly moral choice. People who are anti-abortion say all killing is wrong, which Marquis proves to be too broad of a statement; pro-choicers’ principles are proved to be too narrow. Marquis brings up the fact that we could never come close to settling the debate until we know the exact reason that killing innocent adults is wrong. He brings up several points as to why killing adults is wrong including the effect that the loss of a life has on family, friends, and the person who murdered them in the first place. The most important and key factor brought up was the effect on the person being murdered, and the reason why murder is one of the worst crimes a person could commit. Robbing someone of their future would be causing someone to have to go through the biggest loss possible. Not only would it rob them of the things they value in the moment Marquis point out, but it would also rob them of experiencing the things that they will grow to value. Getting your life cut short without that being a desire of yours is arguably the worst thing that could ever happen to you. For example, most cancer patients consider death the worst thing that could happen to them even when they are in a lot of pain. They would rather keep fighting and suffer through the pain than die. Using the “future-like-ours” argument, Marquis concludes that abortion is seriously immoral in most circumstances.
While he believes most abortions to be immoral, he does admit that there are certain circumstances where it would be a moral decision. Abortion could be justifiable, “... only if the loss consequent on failing to abort would be at least as great,” (229) as aborting the child. This shows that while most circumstances are immoral, there are some times where abortion could be the right thing to do. For example, if birthing the fetus would kill the mother, then failing to abort the fetus would result in a worse outcome than aborting it. The mother would be a part of the society and have many social relationships, so her death would affect her and everyone that she knows. Her place of work would be affected, her family’s life would be completely changed along with the lives of her friends and significant other, and if the fetus survived, then it wouldn’t even have a mother. I am in agreement with his claim that abortion can be considered moral in such circumstances, and I think that there is more to be considered when thinking about the “future-like-ours” argument. I agree that a fetus has a future because if we let a fetus continue to grow, it would grow into a human being with a future and a life just like the ones we live; that is inarguable. However, how are we supposed to know if that future is better or worse for the fetus than being aborted. That may sound harsh or dark at first, but there are a lot of things in society that get completely ignored because people’s minds have a tendency to forget the bad and focus on the good. Imagine that a woman who is unfit to be a mother gets pregnant. She could simply abort the fetus before it develops too much and becomes a human being, or she could keep it and birth it. Let’s consider the hypothetical situation that the mother is a heavy drug user, and brings the child into a world surrounded by danger and substance abuse. The kid begins to grow up in a household where they are neglected and abused, then eventually it gets to the point that they are taken away and entered into the foster system. Then let’s say that the foster home they are put into also has abusive guardians, so they are relocated again. Then again. Then again. They grow up to get into crime because they had a terrible upbringing and are angry at the world; there are endless possibilities of bad futures. If there is a high probability that the future of a fetus will be bad, then is keeping it really worth it? Are experiences like that not worse than not going through them at all? Of couse there is no way to tell that a future will be bad, but there is also no way to tell if a future will be good. There are a lot of drugs in society today and it is becoming a growing issue and is being more and more normalized everyday, so situations like these become more and more common. There is a possibility of both good and bad futures, and people like to ignore the bad in the world and assume that the fetus is going to live to have a happy life, but the chance of a terrible future is the flaw of the future-based argument.
Marquis whole argument was future-based, but of course the determination of the moment a fetus becomes a human being must be considered. My view is that abortion is moral to an extent. I agree with Marquis in the sense that abortion is mostly immoral, but only after a fetus becomes a baby. In the chapter, it is brought up on page 225 that killing cancer cell culture is considered okay, but if those are human cells and living, then according to the anti-abortionist’s principle that all killing is wrong, then killing those cells would be wrong. This can be compared to a fetus; a fetus begins as just a cluster of cells. The question here is, when does a cluster of cells transition from being called a cluster of cells to being called a human being? If we can kill the cancerous cells then what makes killing these cells so wrong? After a fetus is developed enough to be called a baby and is big enough that it has to be surgically removed, then that is when I view it as wrong. If the pregnancy is in such an early stage that it’s still referred to as a fetus and not a baby and is no more than a cluster of cells, then a female should be able to make the choice on whether or not to carry out a pregnancy. During the early stages of pregnancy, abortion is a decision where both choices can be made without being considered immoral.
Don Marquis intelligently puts together his argument and considers all angles. While he concludes that abortion is overall immoral, I do not. My view is that abortion is perfectly moral up to a point. Once a person carries a pregnancy out for an extensive amount of time, they should no longer be able to choose to abort it; if surgical removal is required rather than the pill, it’s gone on for too long to be able to change your mind. Before that point, a woman should be able to consider her options and come to a conclusion without judgement from others, because at that moment in time it is perfectly moral. Whether the argument is future-based like Marquis’s or based on the moment that a fetus becomes a human being, there is always a point in the pregnancy where abortion is a moral decision.